Archive for February, 2011

Memphis!

February 26, 2011

I just spent 3 amazing days in Memphis with Luba Lukova and Steve Brodner….two of my favourite artists. We were invited by Jennifer Sargeant from the Memphis College of Art to put together a show of our political art now on display at Rust Hall Gallery, and also to participate in a panel discussion moderated by Joel Priddy. Great students, great questions, great energy, what a wonderful experience! Not only was our time with the students memorable, we also got to visit Graceland, Sun Recording Studio and the Civil Rights Museum (and we saw some awesome live music on Beale Street). Thanks so much Shane and Marie for being the best hosts ever, and Michael…you are a force of nature!

I LOVE John Lurie’s art

February 21, 2011

From Wikipedia: John Lurie (born December 14, 1952) is an American actor, musician, painter and producer. He is co-founder of The Lounge Lizards, a jazz ensemble. Lurie has acted in 19 films including Stranger than Paradise and Down by Law, composed and performed music for 20 television and film works…..
His paintings are otherworldly and have some of the wittiest titles I’ve ever encountered. For example,
“Horse with Mullet”, “Harry didn’t want to say anything, but the appearance of Jesus was ruining his vacation” and “The spirits are trying to tell me something but it’s really fucking vague”.
Brilliant work! Please see http://www.johnlurieart.com

The Veil

February 18, 2011

This image is currently touring the USA in a show entitled “The Veil; Visible and Invisible spaces”. It features art by women having to do with the religious and/or cultural veiling of women. I have complicated and mixed feelings about the issue, and this show has been curated to show different viewpoints on the subject.
Lindsey Kouvaris, the curator of exhibits and collections at de Saisset museum, says, “The goal of this showcase, as presented by Jennifer Heath and the artists involved, is to look beyond the cultural stereotypes and clichés that we all associate with the practice of veiling especially in regard to the Muslim religion.
“The artists are looking at veiling in much broader sense, in a social, metaphorical and religious perspective. The practice of veiling transcends cultures, religions and centuries and this show is trying to redefine the current associations involved with veiling.”
According to Fayeq Oweis, Arabic language and culture professor at Santa Clara, the artwork aims to break the prevalent western perception of the veil as an oppressive garment worn as part of the Muslim tradition. “For many cultures in the Eastern tradition, the veil is a choice and serves as a symbol of transition to adulthood for many young women, allowing for a sense of modesty and class,” said Oweis.
Naim Farhat, founder of the Farhat Art Museum in Lebanon, and owner of the central piece “The Dresses” by Mary Tuma. said, “The presentation of these artworks allows for dialogue and open discussion on certain controversial issues and provides for less friction between opposing viewpoints.”
It’s an interesting show in which to be involved. And frankly it does upset me when I see a woman in full black burka in sweltering summer heat!

Lunch on the beach

February 14, 2011

Yesterday we had a wonderful long lunch at a beach restaurant near Sintra Portugal! Shown are brilliant Portuguese illustrators Andre Carillho (he has a full page illustration of Mel Gibson in the current Vanity Fair) and Cristina Sampaio (cristinasampaio.com), along with me, Cristina’s dog Zeba and Ralph!

Sintra, Portugal

February 13, 2011

What a great honour to have been invited as a judge for the 2011 World Press Cartoon competition! We spent the last week judging entries from all over the world. Other judges included Alessandro Gatto from Italy, Cecile Bertrand from Belgium and Ralph Steadman from the UK.
It was fascinating to see the various ideas and aesthetics from the many different countries represented in the competition, particularly the work that was a product of some of the more challenging political climates.
Some themes were expressed a number of different ways. For example we saw a few images each of Julian Assange and Wikileaks, the paedophilia rampant in the Catholic church and also the religious subjugation of women in some cultures.
Ultimately the choices we made were difficult. How does one judge one piece of art to be better than another? We discussed the clarity of the idea, the merit of the drawing (or computer rendering) and the final deliverance of the idea as an image.
Ultimately I think we democratically chose some very good representations of what happened in the world in 2010. And hopefully we’ve contributed in some small way to continuing the great tradition of social and political comment that is so critical to any democratic society.
And…the competition is held every year. I would recommend that artists enter the contest if they are so inclined…the Grand Prix is twenty thousand Euros!
Thank you Rui Paulo da Cruz for inviting me


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